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Inexpensive car insurance az

Whether you’re buying only liability insurance or a full coverage car insurance policy, the thought of cheap car insurance is enticing. And there’s no better way to find the best deal than by shopping around and comparing quotes.

To help you find the cheapest car insurance, NerdWallet did a car insurance comparison of rates for incident-free drivers from the five largest auto insurers across the 12 most populous states in the country.

Here’s how the big guys stack up.

In this article

Car insurance rates among the largest companies
Why you should consider smaller insurers, too
Tips to help all drivers save
Cheapest car insurance by state


» COMPARE: Auto insurance rates

Rankings: Car insurance rates among the five largest companies

1. Geico

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For the general population, Geico offers the cheapest car insurance quotes on average nationwide. NerdWallet found an average rate of $1,297 a year in our study.

Geico also provides a variety of easy-to-score discounts that can cut costs. Motorists who’ve gone five years without an accident qualify for the company’s good driver discount. There are also opportunities to save by insuring multiple vehicles, driving a car with air bags, always wearing seat belts and taking advantage of various other discounts.

2. State Farm

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State Farm ranks second for pricing among the four largest companies, but with an average quote of $2,296 per year, nearly $1,000 per year higher than Geico. The good news is drivers have ample opportunity to trim their costs, especially if they have a clean driving record. Among other savings opportunities, State Farm offers four separate discounts that deal with safe and accident-free driving.

State Farm is the nation’s leading car insurance provider in terms of market share, offering a vast array of insurance products and financial services in every state plus Washington, D.C.

3. Progressive

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Progressive returned an average quote of $2,821 per year, which comes out to $235 a month. That’s $525 a year higher than State Farm and more than double the cost of Geico.

Progressive may appeal to drivers looking for a paper- and agent-free experience. You can manage your policy entirely online. Starting a quote online and signing policy documents electronically are also two ways to qualify for discounts, along with things like bundling auto and home insurance and insuring multiple cars.

4. Allstate

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Of the four largest insurers, Allstate had the highest average annual quote for good drivers at $3,182, or roughly $265 per month. Although ponying up that kind of cash is a lot to ask, the company has solid finances and relatively few complaints from policyholders. Allstate holds an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from A.M. Best and has a customer complaint ratio of 0.77, better than the industry median of 1.00, according to data compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Among other discounts, Allstate offers price breaks for safe driving, including savings once you’ve gone accident- and violation-free for three years, and again for five years.

» COMPARE: Car insurance quotes

USAA: Best for those with military ties

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You may already recognize USAA for its highly rated customer service. But the company has more to offer than a friendly bedside manner — it also notched the cheapest car insurance rates in our study, at $918 a year. USAA offers several discounts to help you save more, including for going more than five years with a clean record and for taking an approved defensive driving course.

USAA is open to active and retired military members and their families, and offers car insurance and other insurance products in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Check out smaller insurers, too

Finding cheap car insurance doesn’t mean you have to stick with large, national insurance companies. Regional and small insurers may beat the lowest offers from the big guys. For example:

  • Grange Mutual offered the lowest car insurance in Ohio at $701 a year.
  • Erie Insurance had a rate of $796 for Pennsylvania car insurance, second-lowest behind only USAA.

Tips for anyone to get cheap car insurance

No matter who your auto insurance company is, here are tips for saving on your policy:

  1. Look for discounts — even ask for them. There could be discounts you’re not taking advantage of. For instance, maybe you now work from home and are driving less than when you bought your policy. Mention it and you might get a low-mileage discount.
  2. Rethink your insurance limits and deductibles. Don’t strip away your coverage just for the sake of a lower price. But consider accepting a higher deductible on collision and comprehensive if it makes sense. Raising deductibles means you would owe more out of pocket if you had to file a comprehensive or collision claim. If you rarely drive or are financially comfortable with that risk, though, it’s a surefire way to get cheaper car insurance.
  3. Cash in on major life changes. Certain life events could translate to cheaper car insurance. For instance, many companies offer a lower rate for married couples or domestic partners. Or perhaps you moved to a new city with stellar public transportation. If you’re commuting by train instead of car, your risk for accidents will go down — and your rates just might, too.

NerdWallet’s comparison tool makes it easy to see quotes from top companies side by side and possibly save hundreds on your rates.

Cheapest car insurance by state

Wondering who’s the most likely to offer cheap auto insurance where you live? NerdWallet looked at rates for 30-year-old good drivers from the largest insurers in each state. Find your state in the list below:

STATE BY STATE
Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas
California Colorado Connecticut Delaware
District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii
Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine
Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota
Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska
Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico
New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island
South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas
Utah Vermont Virginia Washington
West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
Alabama
  • Geico
  • ALFA
  • Allstate
Alaska
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • State Farm
Arizona
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • State Farm
Arkansas
  • Geico
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • State Farm
California
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • Esurance
Colorado
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • American Family
  • State Farm
Connecticut
  • Amica Mutual
  • Travelers
  • State Farm
Delaware
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Nationwide
District of Columbia
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • State Farm
Florida
  • State Farm
  • Geico
  • Esurance
Georgia
  • Geico
  • Georgia Farm Bureau
  • State Farm
Hawaii
  • Geico
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • State Farm
Idaho
  • Safeco
  • Geico
Illinois
  • Country Financial
  • State Farm
  • American Family
Indiana
  • Erie
  • Indiana Farmers Mutual 
  • American Family
Iowa
  • Nationwide
  • American Family
  • State Farm
Kansas
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • State Farm
  • Farm Bureau Mutual
Kentucky
  • State Farm
  • Geico
  • Kentucky Farm Bureau
Louisiana
  • State Farm
  • Southern Farm Bureau
  • Allstate
Maine
  • Geico
  • Concord
Maryland
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Erie
  • Geico
Massachusetts
  • Commerce (MAPFRE) Insurance
  • Progressive
  • Amica Mutual
Michigan
  • Auto-Owners Insurance
  • Hanover
  • Frankenmuth Insurance
Minnesota
  • Travelers
  • American Family
  • Western National
Mississippi
  • Safeco
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
Missouri
  • American Family
  • Farm Bureau
  • AAA
Montana
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • State Farm
Nebraska
  • Farmers Mutual of Nebraska
  • State Farm
  • Allstate
Nevada
  • Geico
  • State Farm
  • American Family
New Hampshire
  • Amica Mutual
  • Concord
  • Geico
New Jersey
  • Travelers
  • New Jersey Manufacturers
  • Allstate
New Mexico
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • State Farm
New York
  • Geico
  • Travelers
  • Progressive
North Carolina
  • Geico
  • Progressive
  • North Carolina Farm Bureau
North Dakota
  • State Farm
  • American Family
  • Nodak Mutual
Ohio
  • Grange
  • Erie
  • State Farm
Oklahoma
  • State Farm
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
Oregon
  • Country Financial
  • Geico
  • State Farm
Pennsylvania
  • Erie
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Travelers
Rhode Island
  • Geico
  • Amica Mutual
  • Progressive
South Carolina
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • State Farm
South Dakota
  • Allied
  • State Farm
  • Farmers Mutual Insurance of Nebraska
Tennessee
  • Geico
  • Farm Bureau Mutual
  • Travelers
Texas
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • State Farm
Utah
  • Bear River Mutual
  • Geico
  • American Family
Vermont
  • Geico
  • Co-operative Insurance
  • Nationwide
Virginia
  • Geico
  • State Farm
  • Nationwide
Washington
  • Geico
  • PEMCO
  • Farmers
West Virginia
  • Erie
  • Westfield Insurance
Wisconsin
  • American Family
  • West Bend Mutual
  • State Farm
Wyoming
  • Geico
  • Safeco

To recap:

Cheap car insurance options

InsurerCheapest forAverage price
USAADrivers with a military connection$77/month
GeicoGeneral population$108/month

Alex Glenn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aglenn@nerdwallet.com.

METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women with no incidents on record across the 12 most populous states in the country in 10 ZIP codes per state and from the largest insurers in each state. Sample drivers had 100/300/50 liability insurance limits, 100/300 uninsured motorist coverage limits and collision and comprehensive with a $1,000 deductible. Where needed, minimum required amounts of personal injury protection were added. We used a 2012 Toyota Camry in all cases. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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You may be leaving hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on the table if you don’t regularly compare car insurance rates. Many factors affect your car insurance rates, and if any of them changed, it’s possible that the cheapest policy will come from a different insurer.

You should compare car insurance rates at these times, when your rates are likely to change significantly:

  • You bought a car
  • You added a teen driver to your policy
  • You got married or divorced
  • Your credit score changed
  • You bought a house or moved
  • You got cited for a DUI or major violation or caused an accident

Even if your status remains the same, you should do some car insurance shopping every six or 12 months. Insurance companies use different formulas to set your rates, so the price for the same policy can vary significantly even if you don’t have a life-changing event. That means you can wind up overpaying if you don’t compare insurance rates from several companies at least once a year.

Save by comparing car insurance rates

The chart below shows the highest and lowest rates from six insurers for each location. You’ll see that savings of over 50 percent can be had from doing an auto insurance quotes comparison:

ZIP codeHighest rateLowest rateSavings for lowest rate
Los Angeles 90029 $3,194 $1,464 $1,730
Chicago 60636 $2,989 $1,167 $1,822
Houston 77091 $2,934 $1,241 $1,693
Miami 33142 $3,277 $1,136 $2,141
NYC (Manhattan) 11031 $6,426 $1,407 $5,019

* Averages are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. Data for CarInsurance.com provided by Quadrant Information Services.

Now that you’re ready to save, we’ll walk you through the process of reviewing your coverage, gathering the personal information you’ll need, comparing rates and vetting potential insurers.

Five steps to take when car insurance shopping:

1. Get an idea of what you can expect to pay.

If you’ve moved or if you just want to get a feel for what car insurance costs in your neighborhood or are a new driver, you can get an idea of what people in your area are paying by using our car insurance comparison tool, showing the average car insurance rate in each ZIP code.

2. Review your existing policy and assess coverage.

While you shop around for the price and insurance company that is right for you, you should know what coverages are right for you too. If this is a new policy you need to meet at least your state's minimum liability car insurance requirements. If you simply want to find the cheapest car insurance possible when comparison shopping, you would look for liability coverage only, and in the smallest amount your state will accept. (Legally required minimum liability coverage amounts vary by state.) Bear in mind that some states require so little coverage that an accident might leave any other assets you have, such as a home or savings, vulnerable to lawsuits.

If you’re replacing a policy, review the information on your policy to see if your existing coverage is still the best for you.

The four main types of car insurance you should understand are:

  • Liability car insurance – Covers others’ property damage and medical expenses. If you have few assets, you don’t need high limits. If you own a home or have savings, you do -- 100/300/30 is recommended. That means $100,000 per person, up to $300,000 an accident and $30,000 for property damage costs.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage – Comes in two forms: uninsured motorist bodily injury pays for medical bills if you’re injured in an accident that an uninsured driver causes. Uninsured property damage pays to fix your car. Some states require these coverages, but if yours doesn’t, ask yourself if you would have the money to pay for damages yourself should you be hit or injured by a driver without car insurance.
  • Collision coverage – Covers damage to your car. This pays out only up to the actual cash value of your car. If your vehicle is old, you may not need this optional protection.
  • Comprehensive insurance – Covers theft and damage to your car from hail, floods, fire, vandalism and animal strikes. Like collision coverage, this will pay you up to the amount your car is valued by the insurance company. If you drive a beater, you may not need the extra coverage.

Comprehensive and collision coverage are typically not budget-busters. A comprehensive car insurance comparison analysis by the Insurance Information Institute shows the national average cost per year is $139. For collision, it’s $297.

Also, decide now what deductible makes sense for your situation. One of the best ways to save on car insurance is to raise your deductible for collision and comprehensive insurance, but remember that if you have a claim, that deductible will be your out-of-pocket expense to repair or replace your car. If you have more than one claim, you'll have to pay the deductible each time. We recommend you choose an amount that you can pay from savings. Your car won’t be repaired until you pay your share.

3. Gather your personal information.

If you compare car insurance rates online, it’s easier to compare quotes side-by-side, which saves you from having to repeatedly give out the same information and write down quotes on your own. Once you know what coverage you need, gather the following information to request a car insurance quote.

  • Name, birth date and driver's license number of all drivers to be covered.
  • Make and model of each car to be covered.
  • Driving history, including accidents and driving violations, of all drivers to be covered by the policy.

4. Start comparing multiple auto insurance quotes.

Now you can begin collecting online car insurance quotes. Request rates from at least three different insurers. Be careful to compare the same coverage by using the same liability limits, identical deductibles and optional coverages.

Also be sure to follow up with potential insurers about any car insurance discounts you may qualify for. There may be additional discounts offered that are not part of the online quote process. For instance, you may be asked how many miles you drive a year to see if you’re eligible for a low-mileage discount, but you may not be asked what your teen driver’s grades are, which could snag you a good-student discount.

Now that you know what coverages and limits you need, start now by finding car insurance companies in your area.

5. Research potential car insurance companies before you buy.

When you’re ready to buy, research the insurers that offered you the lowest rate. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recommends that when you compare insurance companies you take the following steps:

  • Check with an insurance rating service, such as A.M. Best or Standard & Poor's, to find a grade or rating for the company and an analysis of its finances so you can feel confident that a potential insurance claim will be paid.
  • Check for complaints against the company with NAIC's Consumer Information Source.
  • You can also research complaint rates online at the Better Business Bureau and your state insurance department's websites.
  • Read the customer comments at the insurer’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to see if people are generally happy with the service.

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